The IHBC’s Chair David McDonald has offered the following interim statement on our plans and operations, in advance of determinations by our trustees who will meet (online) next Thursday to agree a forward strategy across our suite of current plans.
David McDonald writes: ‘Like me, you are probably feeling rather overwhelmed by the amount of Coronavirus advice that is being emailed to by every organisation that you deal with. Nevertheless, I’d like to up-date everyone with how the IHBC is responding to the current epidemic. In common with the rest of the population, I’m at home and venturing out only for exercise and essential shopping. As we have indicated in previous emails to Members, it is important that we follow all relevant Government Advice. Here, I would like to inform you how the IHBC may be able to support you through these difficult times as well as how it is dealing with its own organisational and business issues.’
‘Whilst we are all primarily concerned about the health and well-being of ourselves, family and friends, for some there will be worries about their employment and income. There is a limit to how much assistance that the IHBC may give, but I would like to remind Members of our crisis support for members with the ‘Fee Free Year’ scheme which was introduced a few years ago to assist those whose employment prospects might be uncertain.
‘The scheme enables the IHBC to cover a Member’s fee for a year while they return to normal employment. It’s administered simply, and initially all that is required is an email to our Membership Services Officer at email@example.com.’
‘A reduced subscription rate is also available for Members on limited incomes. Again, enquiries should be made our Membership Services Officer, with full details also online.’
‘Other organisations and link bodies relevant to our interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary membership are offering advice most relevant to their practice areas, from heritage and conservation to development and services, and across the UK. Where we can, we are now offering these in summary as accessible NewsBlog posts to help members keep up to date, and also of course learn from what those outside their more familiar practice (or geographical) areas are doing to help.’
‘As an organisation, to date the IHBC has been affected differently from many others. As we cultivated a ‘virtual office’ to manage costs in an area little recognised across traditional sectors and disciplines, we have not had to deal with office closures per se. In-person meetings and events are on hold at the moment however, in line with government guidance, but staff, officers and consultants are still maintaining regular contact by email and phone.’
‘Our immediate concern just now is how do we deal with the IHBC’s Annual School, which is currently scheduled to take place in Brighton on 18-20 June. It looks increasingly likely that we will need to postpone it. To that end, our Trustees will be discussing the issue at an on-line meeting next Thursday, 2 April. We are also looking at how we can assist IHBC Branches to deal with immediate issues relating to meetings and events as well as planning for the future.’
‘I will provide an up-date on these in a NewsBlog at the end of next week, so keep an eye there for that as well as all our other critical member updates. Until then, stay safe, and if you have issues or concerns where we might be able, do email me or our Director, Sean O’Reilly; though please do appreciate that inevitably we will have to manage priorities in our responses very carefully, so delays should be anticipated.’
IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Clearly the IHBC’s National Office is prioritising crisis mitigation for now, but we are also looking to the future. So even as we explore options around the forthcoming School and Schools, we are looking to make sure the current crisis leads to better services, skills and standards across all the heritage stakeholders, including ourselves as well as, hopefully, others.’
Find out about IHBC fee support
See existing plans for the AGM elections
See our CREATIVE Conservation Fund update on our Membership Matters update